Topics: Australia, Pacific Affairs, Politics

West Papua independence leader seeks Māori backing for self-governance

By Mānia Clarke
  • Auckland
  • Wellington
  • Australia

West Papuan independence leader, Benny Wenda has returned to Aotearoa to gain support from indigenous Māori and Pacific people as part of a campaign to free his country.  

It's alleged that the Indonesian province has had widespread human rights violations over many decades

The founder of Free West Papua Campaign is hoping his second trip to Aotearoa will result in freedom for his people.

"I want the people New Zealand and the Māori people to back this, support West Papua and bring West Papua back to the Pacific family. Secondly to support West Papua self-determination," said Wenda.

Free West Papua Campaign claim a genocide of over 500,000 indigenous people have been killed by the Indonesian military.

"Since Indonesia occupied our country 1963 and that's the beginning of the bloodshed till today. It's more killing, imprisonment, torture and media restrictions in West Papua."

In 2003 Wenda fled from his homeland to the UK where he has been living as an exiled refugee, following his arrest for campaigning for autonomy.

"People of West Papua are fighting for independence from Indonesia. That's why the Free West Papua campaign is setting up in UK to raise the awareness broadly."

Wenda will address Māori and Pacific Island MPs in parliament tomorrow to present a declaration calling for the independence of West Papua.